Profectus Biosciences won a $5.4 million five-year grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) to support the development of a trivalent vaccine that protects against infection by all major strains of the Ebola and Marburg filoviruses. The vaccine will be based on Profectus’ replication-competent recombinant vesicular stomatitis virus (rVSV) technology, which the firm has already used to generate vectors expressing the surface glycoproteins from Ebola and Marburg viruses.
Initial preclinical studies carried out in collaboration with researchers at NIH and Galveston National Laboratory (GNL) scientists have demonstrated that a candidate rVSV-Ebola vaccine protected against lethal challenge with the Zaire strain of Ebola virus. The latest grant funding will support development of a vaccine comprising three rVSV vectors that protect against all the major filovirus species. Profectus will design and develop the lyophilized trivalent vaccine, and GNL will carry out the relevant preclinical studies to demonstrate the vaccine’s ability to protect against lethal challenge with multiple strains of Ebola and Marburg viruses.
Profectus is developing therapeutic and prophylactic vaccines against infectious diseases and cancer, based on a prime-boost strategy involving the delivery of a best-in-class DNA vaccine to prime the immune system, followed by boosting using an rVSV vector. The firm’s pipeline includes candidates against HCV, HPV, HSV type 2, HIV, and malaria.
In February Profectus reported the initiation of a Phase I clinical trial evaluating the safety and immunogenicity of its rVSV HIV vaccine in 60 HIV-uninfected adults. The study is being sponsored by NIAID and is being conducted by the NIAID-funded HIV Vaccine Trials Network.